MUMBAI: Soft drinks giant Pepsi's association with music in India is taking another step with the news it plans to co-brand with youth and music platform MTV to create a new channel, expected to be called MTV Indies.

While the two have previously co-branded shows on the main channel, the creation of a separate channel featuring the Pepsi logo alongside that of MTV is a new departure for both brands. An official close to the development said the prominent embedding of Pepsi's logo was an outcome of MTV's focus on platinum partners.

"Platinum advertisers will have a partnership with MTV, rather than being just advertising clients," he told the Business Standard.

A senior MTV official noted that the channel had grown its franchise with several brand extensions, including niche channels. "In a pay-TV environment, it is a profitable business model," he said. "Given our strong legacy, this is a good time to launch another MTV channel," he added.

The channel will focus on the indie genre, effectively targeting a growing sub-culture among Indian youth. Branding experts also said this was a space so far relatively uncluttered with associated brands, unlike Bollywood or English pop music.

As well as music, the channel's content is expected to include segments on indie films, visual arts and on how indie artistes create their videos and album art.

At recent London event, Local Matters, Nivedita Singh, a director at GreyCells Research Services, the insights group based in New Delhi, highlighted Pepsi as a brand that understood India very well. "Music, movies and cricket is our religion", she said.

Pepsi's strategy in this regard won a silver medal in the 2013 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy, with a mash-up of cricket, football and Bollywood to reach the nation's youth. The tie-up with MTV is an extension of that approach to encompass the third strand of Singh's religion.

The cost involved, however, will be rather less. Pepsi spent Rs 160 crore on sponsorship of IPL cricket, but the deal with MTV is likely to come in at around Rs 7-10 crore a year, with MTV footing the production cost.

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff